Touring Where Nature Meets Innovation in Northeast Ohio
Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, Kentucky Derby winner Justify continues on his quest to capture horse racing’s Triple Crown when he runs in the Preakness Stakes. However, next weekend, some Northeast Ohio adventurers will take in Cleveland’s “Triple Crown.”
“The Triple Crown are the Cultural Gardens, The Rockefeller Greenhouse and the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve, formerly known as Dike 14,” said NatureVation co-founder Elaine Price. “They are all rich in nature, heritage and culture. Most of us in Northeast Ohio, probably drive up and down Martin Luther King Drive, probably faster than we should, and rarely stop to get out and explore any of the gardens. Then, the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve is a fabulous gem jutting out into the lake with a unique, quirky history of its engineering.”
NatureVation, a Cleveland Heights based provider of outdoor adventures in Northeast Ohio, grew out of a trip that Price took to New Mexico in 1999, where an adventure tour company took care of all the arrangements.
“I took this kind of vacation where you hike the first day, bike the second and raft the third. You stay at these wonderful lodges and eat great food, and the best part was that I didn’t have to make a decision the whole time,” Price said.
When Price came home, she had a question.
“Our nature is as good as their nature. How come those businesses aren’t running those types of tours in Northeast Ohio? Someday I’m going to create a business just like that,” Price said.
That “someday” came in 2013, when along with her husband Gordon Landefeld, Price started NatureVation.
Price and Landefeld have structured NatureVation to be more than just a tour company that loads people into buses, drops them off at a natural location and picks them up a few hours later. The couple does research and shares what they’ve learned about the history, culture, folklore and stories behind the places they take people throughout the adventures.
The “vation” part of NatureVation comes from Price’s desire to show how the people who came to Northeast Ohio used what was around them in innovative ways to create the Northeast Ohio we see today.
“It’s really the stories of the people who settled the land and started the businesses, which became companies, it’s their stories we tell.”
Price not only wants to share Northeast Ohio’s national beauty, but something else she feels is important.
“I’m a firm believer that the best way to protect and enhance nature, is to get as many people as possible into it. Those people fall in love with those places and that makes them advocates for those places and the other ones we need to protect,” she said.